INSTALLATION OF THE 50 DEFENSE
- To have a great defense you must start with a philosophy. The coaches and players must believe in it and stick to it. You will not be a great defensive team by changing your philosophy from week to week or at mid-season.
- Give Great Effort: You must establish a way of playing each week, regardless of the opponent, score, situation, or time on the clock (etc.)
- The 50 defense can be centered on the philosophy that this defense and its athletes will be known for always running to the football. You will always be an aggressive swarming type of defense that will always have people around the football. You must have patience and understand that you may give up a few yards and some first downs, but feel on a long drive that sooner or later you will make the offense make a mistake or you will come up with a big play that will put them in a second and long or a third and long situation.
- Communicate: Each of the 11 players on defense communicates with each other and is receptive to communication.
- Execute: On each run or pass play, each Man has an assignment. DO IT!! If one man fails, all 11 fail. Anticipate what can happen to you.
- Team Unity: You cannot have a great defense with individuals playing only for themselves. You must have pride in yourself, but at no point can your satisfaction be more important than the TEAM. Respect your teammates. You help them win and they in return will help you win.
Pursuit and Gang Tackle
11 people to the ball, getting a piece of the ball carrier.
Demoralize the ball carrier by physicalness and buzzing around the ball, taking all escape routes away.
To be a great defensive football team, you must place special emphasis on the following suggestions. You will be working on these everyday in practice. It will be very repetitious and at times may seem to big a project, but your football players must mentally prepare themselves to work hard on them every day. You can’t loaf through them or toward the middle of the season your defense will go downhill. The only way to improve on them is to continually work on them and you know from experience as a coach that MENTAL DISCIPLINE, PHYSICAL DISCIPLINE, KEYS-TECHNIQUE, QUICKNESS, TACKLING, and CONSISTENCY are the most important things to have in order to have a great defense.
Discipline means that your athletes do it your way. Coaching is your profession and through experience, you know your way will work. Discipline keeps your defense from acquiring bad habits that will in turn hurt you and your team’s performance. Your approach to discipline will give your team the strength to overcome adversity.
As a football coach, do not demand discipline to build your image as tough guys or to have a dictator atmosphere. Discipline is for the reasons mentioned above and most of all so that you, as a staff can be fair and honest with the players whether they be a starter or a back-up. The best way to accomplish that is to treat everyone the same and the only way to do that is to have discipline. (Be at meetings on time, helmets snapped at all times, etc.)
- MENTAL DISCIPLINE:
- Your team must be mentally ready to play as well as physically.
- Your athletes must be on time for meetings, practice, etc… This will carry right on to the practice field and will make you a better team.
- You cannot have mental mistakes. One mental mistake by one player can mean a touchdown or as in most cases, keep a drive going that results in a touchdown.
- A mental mistake usually results from athletes not concentrating in your meetings, in practice or not studying your hand-outs.
- Demand that you athletes learn their assignments during the week so on Friday night or scrimmage day they won’t be confused and can react and be aggressive.
- Discipline your team to stay in shape throughout the year.
- Push your athletes when working on sprints, distance or any or-her type of running.
- No Pain -No Gain. The fourth quarter must be yours.
- Discipline your athletes to play with pain. If injured, you don’t need to expect your players to play. Remember, there is a difference between pain and injury. YOUR GREAT PLAYERS AND TEAMS KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.
- Your athletes must know their keys every play and concentrate on them.
- Your athletes must be able to read with their keys, understand the play which is developing.
- Read -On -The -Run after attacking the L.O.S. Your ability to react to your secondary keys (blocking schemes, pass routes, ball) will make you a sound defensive football team.
- To be a great defensive football team your coaches and players must understand the need for great technique.
- Don’t just understand X’s and O’s but pride yourself in being a great technician of the game. Be aggressive with your technique and don’t be satisfied with controlling your man, but beat him. Great technique is obtained through total concentration and effort in practice.
- QUICKNESS OR RUNNING TO THE FOOTBALL:
- Always talk quickness to the football, after you key and play your technique, then quickness becomes of utmost importance
- You can never be too quick; This will improve if you work hard at practice and demand your coaches to always emphasize it.
- It’s possible to give up some size and strength for quickness and play. You can never give up quickness for size and strength though.
- Agility -Agility drills, bags, ropes, and sprints, work hard on these everyday. Work on agility everyday it will make for greater team speed
PHILOSOPHY OF TEAM PURSUIT
Team pursuit is a burning desire for all eleven players getting to the football. Team pursuit can be evaluated by freezing a video frame, and counting the number of players around the football on every play.
You can be a turn over producing defense with great team pursuit. Force people to go the distance in order to score.
You can build a reputation of punishing gang tackling from the front and backside, by demanding team pursuit.
WHAT IT TAKES TO PURSUE:
- Pursuit is first a mental process.
- Visualize pursuing and making great plays.
- Physical Conditioning is necessary so you can have great pursuit on every Play.
- Speed -React Fast and quickly. You can improve your speed and quickness.
HOW TO PURSUE:
- Play technique and gap responsibility first.
- Take correct course (pursuit angle) to the ball.
- Don’t follow the same color Jersey.
- You have to want to be first to the ball.
- Who ever is responsible for contain must keep the ball carrier inside into the pursuit. Everyone else works inside out to the ball.
ONCE YOU ARRIVE AT THE BALL:
- Come to balance (come under control).
- God bent knee-striking position.
- Step to and through the ball carrier (take one extra step).
- Club and wrap up (your numbers up through their numbers).
WHAT PURSUIT DOES:
- Eliminates the Long T.D.
- Discourages opponents
- During the course of the game.
- Strikes fear and intimidates future opponents.
- Promotes consistent team performance.
- Creates turnovers all over the field.
About the Author of this post:
Jerry Campbell has over 30 years of high school and college coaching experience. He has experience as a head coach, offensive coordinator, and various position coaches. He has written numerous football coaching articles in various publications, is the author of over 30 books on coaching football, and has produced 12 coaching video series. Additionally, he is a nationally sought after speaker on the coaching clinic circuit.